Tropic Thunder 

Maybe this title fell victim to the old "my friends over-hyped this" pitfall, but I was not at all impressed with Tropic Thunder. It barely made me laugh, which I'm pretty sure makes it a rotten comedy.

An action star (Ben Stiller), a fart-joke comedian (Jack Black) and an Oscar-winning character actor (Robert Downey Jr.) team up to make a Hollywood blockbuster set during the Vietnam War. But when their novice director (Steve Coogan) falls behind schedule, he opts to shoot the remainder of the film "guerilla-style" to garner more authentic emotion. Too bad the plan gets mucked up and the prima donna cast is forced to wander around Asian jungles aimlessly while real live soldiers try to kill them.

I get that scriptwriters Stiller, Justin Theroux and Ethan Cohen wanted to poke fun at the film industry and how hokey and overblown stardom is, but the attempt seemed to sail over my head. Stiller and Black always play annoying buffoons. And with Downey Jr. on board as the actor who takes himself too seriously, it seems all three of the leads simply played their usual roles, which was neither unique nor insightful.

Downey's ethnic transformation is clever, as is Tom Cruise's foul-mouthed, aggressive studio exec. But the rest felt stale.

Still, I can't say you won't like it. No less than three of my friends laughed until they cried. But from my vantage, I've seen funnier films from every one of the stars.

This video courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.

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